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External ills imperil tropical reserves

Impacts outside parks drive poor health within

One of the first broad looks at how well tropical reserves protect biodiversity has found that while some are relatively stable, others are in decline due to conditions just beyond their borders.

Logging, deforestation and fires just outside a park had strong effects on a reserve’s health, whereas factors such as air and water pollution were less significant, new research finds. “These parks are like imperfect mirrors,” says team leader William Laurance, an ecologist at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. “They’re partially reflecting what’s going on around them.”

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